“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
When this verse says “gracious,” it is referring to when someone who is in a position to help someone else, takes the opportunity to do it. It is a rescue but not out of pity, out of a warmth in their character. We may hear the concept of graciousness attributed to God often. But is God’s graciousness something we actually bank on?
We know that God has a plan for us, even when we are in a difficult situation. But that does not mean that God is simply a cold strategist. When we call out to Him to save us, or to end our trial, or to show us the way, or to comfort our pain; we are hoping He will have an attitude of graciousness to us. What we learn from this Psalm is that He does not want us to suffer. He looks down on us, eager to help us. He is eager to rescue us. Then why does it sometimes feel like He is not gracious?
We know that God has a plan for us, even when we are in a difficult situation. But that does not mean that God is simply a cold strategist.
This May Be A Rescue. This passage is proclaiming that he is gracious, so expect that His actions are gracious right now. Often a difficult season is an answer to other prayers we have prayed to him. This difficult season may be a “yes” from God for other requests we’ve made. Think of all the different types of things we ask God for.
Maybe he is graciously answering another prayer about your circumstances:
- please help me marry the right person
- please help me to move into the right house
- please help my child to mature and be successful
- please help the business to grow
Maybe it was a prayer for character:
- please make me a better parent, spouse or friend
- please help me conquer this bad personality trait or habit
- please give me faith, patience, trust or compassion
- please give me wisdom or direction
- please make me a better leader
- please sharpen my abilities
We know that often difficulty is what strengthens us and brings success. This situation may be a rescue. He may be answering another one of our prayers with this circumstance.
He May Be Protecting You From Worse. We can know that since He is gracious, He is no doubt protecting us from the situation being worse. While this is not immediately comforting, the true reality is that there is someone out there in a similar but far worse situation. God has been acting graciously to spare us from worse. While we shouldn’t compare ourselves, as bad as the situation is now, there is graciousness even within this circumstances that it is not worse.
He’s Already Working. Because He is gracious, we can know that He is already working behind the scenes to graciously relieve us from our current situation.
How refreshing that no matter what the scenario, we can trust that God is gracious. He does not enjoy seeing us in pain, He not only intends to rescue us, not only wants to rescue us, but we can be confident that He is rescuing us.
REFLECT: Do you expect God to be consistently gracious to you? Think about the fact that He is consistently in the process of rescuing you. Even if you are in a tough season of life, that trial is very likely rescuing you from something else. And maybe it is in answer to a different prayer for rescue? How is God acting graciously to you right now?